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Can't a letter grade just be a letter grade?

Can't a letter grade just be a letter grade?

I gave a tough exam where a score of 73/100 was an A-. In Canvas's grading section, I report to students what score they got (like a 73) and what grade that translates into. Then this appears to the students as a score of "73", and as "93 (A-)", with both of these numbers seemingly going into the aggregate score average reported at the bottom. Needless to say, this causes a great deal of confusion.

Is there a way that I can get Canvas to simply report a grade of A- as a grade of A-, rather than as some fictitious number that I won't be using in computing their cumulative course grade? Thanks for any insights on this.

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35 Comments
Community Team
Community Team
Community Member

I have the same request.

I viewed the page on creating a grading scheme -- but this applies to the whole course (you might want to vary by assignment), and you cannot hide the number grade, that I could see. Or did I miss that?

Community Team
Community Team

ahunter​ You are correct.  The grading scheme applies to the entire course.

Deactivated user​ your idea is very perplexing.  It sounds very much like you were wanting to grade that single test on a curve?  If so, you can find out more about curving scores here How do I curve Grades in the Gradebook?

If not, then it becomes even more difficult.  In order to use a grading scheme there must be an overall percentage value, and in order to calculate a percentage there must be a total points possible and then the points awarded that achieve that percentage.  Which leads me to believe that what you are asking for is a separate grading scheme for each assignment - on top of the overall course grading scheme that would award the final grade?

If that is the case, an A- that is awarded for 73/100 would not actually provide A- level points in an overall grade calculation.  Here is an example

Points Gradebook Comparison/Example

Using the variable scheme by assignment

73/100 (A-)

93/100 (A-)

83/100 (B-)

249/300 = 83% (B-)

Using overall course scheme

93/100 (A-)

93/100 (A-)

83/100 (B-)

269/300 = 90% (A-)

Navigator

Consistently since 2011, our faculty have been seeking a way to decouple letter grades from Grading Schemes and to import certain grades via .CSV only as letter grades (e.g. "A+", "C-") or other arbitrary values (e.g. "Good", "Check Plus").  Thus, the name of this feature idea speaks to me persuasively, as does Deactivated user's comment about the fictitious number Canvas might show instead of the originally-entered score under certain assignment Grading Schemes.

Our institution cannot use the overall Total grade Canvas computes; we have to use the "Hide Totals" option in every course's Settings. Consequently, the way Grading Schemes can connect letter grades to overall totals isn't as valuable for us.

For now we have some teachers working around this by using SpeedGrader assignment comments as the place where certain grades are given. (But, right now, assignment comments can't be imported...)

Community Member

I grade by points and give extra credit assignments in several of my courses, so it isn't possible to set a grading scheme for those courses that will work properly. However I do want students to know (before they get their transcripts from the registrar) what their course letter grade is.

The only way I can report this information in the gradebook is to create a new assignment. Then Canvas reports the letter grade that I enter along with a numeric score that it makes up. (I've attached two screenshots--one in which the letter grade "assignment" was worth 1 point, one in which it was worth 0 points.)  The numeric score is meaningless.

course letter grade 0 points.JPGcourse letter grade 1 point.JPG

It would be a lot less confusing if the gradebook just showed the letter grade without any numbers attached.

These are related feature requests from the old forum.

https://help.instructure.com/entries/23293805-Show-Letter-Grade-without-Percentage

https://help.instructure.com/entries/21681059-Letter-grades-only-in-the-grade-book

https://help.instructure.com/entries/20680607-Submit-Grades-Using-Letters-Only-no-numeric-value-

https://help.instructure.com/entries/57781700-Displaying-only-Letter-Grades

https://help.instructure.com/entries/35209404-Create-a-Text-Column-in-Gradebook-that-students-can-vi...

Community Coach
Community Coach

Are you not able to add a grading scheme to an individual assignment? I thought you could. If you display grade as a Letter Grade in the assignment options, you should see the option to "View Grading Scheme" which (if you click on it) allows you to apply a specific grading scheme to that assignment.

Not sure if that helps. Smiley Happy

Community Member

See below -- the scheme applies to the whole course.

It would also be nice just to have the letter. I had a student get quite upset with the number, which was close to the cutoff but was pretty meaningless from my point of view, as it was a qualitative assessment of the work.

Community Member

I am interested to know if there is a way to make the grading scheme invisible to the students. While I have no problem with them seeing their final grade in anticipation of what will appear on the official transcript, I do have a problem, as someone mentioned above, with them seeing how close they came to a grade cutoff. Since I curve the overall grades at the end of a semester, the grading scheme boundaries appear rather arbitrary to students who feel entitled to come into my office and argue about where those boundaries ought to be. The grading function in Canvas is handy because I can save the course file as a csv or an xlsx file for my records. However, right now I am torn as to whether the grading function of Canvas is more trouble than taking the data offline and computing grades with either a spreadsheet or a grading program.

Community Member

This seems to be the only "idea" close enough to that which we have asked for since 2011.  Instructors simply want a "decoupled" alphanumeric column in their gradebooks that they can type just type letters into for purposes of final grades, and import of those grades into the SIS.  They really, really don't want that letter grade to be coupled with the highest possible numeric score in that grade range either.  Just let them type in a letter.  Getting that number, which isn't what the student earned anyway, causes them to inquire as to why they weren't raised up a letter grade if they were so close.  Many instructors often wish to bump students up one letter grade level if they are close or did extra good on the final exam or whatever.  So, just give them a "decoupled" alphanumeric column in the gradebooks and let them type a couple or a few of what ever characters they want in there.

Community Member

I'm confused about exactly how this works. There is at least one interpretation in which I would want to vote "up" on it.

I have students turn in papers in Canvas. I use a rubric to grade so the students can see where the problems were. My pre-Canvas rubric was not mathematical. I had a list of criteria and students could meet or not meet certain expectations. If they met the first set, then they had a D. If they met those and at least some of the next they had a C, and so on.

In Canvas I have to assign numbers to the rubric. It has been very difficult for me to make the math come out right. So what happens is that I fill out the rubric, Canvas does the math and says the total is 81. My judgment is that the paper is actually a solid B. Canvas will allow me to enter a different score, so I type in 85 as the grade. So far so good. The student see the rubric total is 81 and that an 85 was entered as the grade. She wonders if I made a mistake and if she should tell me about it. Her friend sees that the rubric gave her an 86 and that a grade of 85 was entered, but I have all Bs the same grade. The friend wants to know why she can't keep that extra point. It might make the difference in the end.

It would be lovely if I could select for all the numbers be hidden from the students. I would like for the students to be able to see how I rated them on the rubric and that they got a B on the paper. I would like the student view of the grade book to show only letter grades.

But I also know that those grades need to be equivalent to numbers in order for Canvas to do any calculations. Whether a B is equivalent to 85 percent or 3.0, there has to be a number somewhere. I don't see how it matters which I have to type.

If it is just about what the students see, I am all for it.